Welcome to my new series “Squadrons Revisited”. A couple of years ago, I did something similar with Star Wars Battlefront II, running through each mission in the story. In that game, we were introduced to a new military unit in Inferno Squad, well now I’m back looking at Squadrons, which also introduces two new units in the Imperial pilots of Titan Squadron and the New Republic pilots of Vanguard Squadron.
Why am I doing this? Well first of all, it’s a canon story that could easily overlooked, due to just being on a video game. But it is also a fun chance to look back at a game itself, and potentially some of you who read this may decide to try the game for yourselves. I will warn you though, there will be spoilers for the story.
Each article will cover a mission in the game, I’ll talk through any cutscenes and conversations that we can have, talk through how the mission basically plays out (including my thoughts on the gameplay and highlighting some achievements available and the “medals” you can earn on each mission—this will be my second playthrough, having smashed through the story in a couple of sittings when the game first came out but then not really touched the game much since) and finishing each article (if I picked anything out) with something you may be used to from my reviews: “Moments in canon”, anything that I have picked out that can tie into other stories within the Star Wars universe.
Today, we will be looking at the second half of the Prologue: A Call to Rebellion
With the Imperial portion of the prologue over, the story of the Alderaanian convoy at Fostar haven continues from the Rebellion’s perspective, specifically that of our heroine Tavana Trace.
The story picks up with Trace flying as part of Echo Squadron, who are flying patrol around a Rebel fleet when they pick up a garbled distress message. The fleet is under the command of none other than Admiral Gial Ackbar, so while the distress message is ungarbled and verified, he orders Echo Squadron to prepare for a potential response. As such, Echo leader has us perform a systems check as we fly through the fleet—a clever narrative way to again familiarise ourselves with the new cockpit and the systems.
And here comes the first difference: this X-wing has shields! While Star Wars Battlefront II was great, it did basically make the stats for TIEs and their opposite fighters on the Rebel/Resistance side the same base stats just with slightly different extra weapons. Whereas in real life the TIEs are generally a little faster and more manoeuvrable than the Rebel fighters, but the Rebels gain the advantage by having shields, which only the most elite TIE variants have, so I love how the game took this attention to detail to make each ship unique and not effectively have the X-Wing and TIE fighter be the same ship with different skins.
Like the Imperial fleet in the first half of the prologue, this Rebel fleet feels so realistic, with its flagship, the Aurora (an MC80 Liberty Type Heavy Star Cruiser) flanked by CR90 corvettes, Nebulon-B escort frigates, GR-75 medium transports and fighter squadrons. As we weave through it an test our systems, we also practice a re-supply from a U-wing, something that will be vital for survival in battle. Eventually the distress signal is verified: a convoy of transports have come under Imperial attack at Fostar Haven and urgently need help. Ackbar sends Echo Squadron and a portion of the fleet as the first wave, and we make our way to the head of the fleet before jumping to hyperspace.
Emerging from hyperspace at Fostar Haven, we find ourselves emerging with the Vigilance and other Imperial forces between us and the fleeing convoy, who are under attack from TIE fighters. And so Echo leader makes a drastic call, having us put all our power into the engines so that we can boost under the Star Destroyer at high enough speeds to hopefully evade enemy fire and get ourselves to the convoy. A dangerous gambit and we make it through, but Echo 5 isn’t as lucky. Fortunately, the rest of the first wave arrive and engage the Vigilance, allowing us to now focus on the convoy and the TIEs attacking it.
As we approach the convoy, we catch an open transmission from Lindon Javes, who identifies himself as a defector and requests assistance in protecting the convoy. We engage the TIEs and make short work of them with our primary weapons and our missiles, while our shields and ability to repair give us more than enough defence. With the fighters down, Javes confirms his defection over comms to Admiral Ackbar, who orders him to keep assisting Echo Squadron.
A Quasar-class carrier has moved away from the battle between the fleets and is launching another wave of fighters at the convoy. Echo Squadron (and Javes) move in to engage these new fighters, but Echo 2 is shot down. As the dogfight continues, Rebel reinforcements arrive and engage the carrier, and once we finish with the TIEs, we turn our focus on the carrier and help finish it off.
Javes warns us that he knows the commander of the Imperial fleet and knows that they will be planning another attack, so Admiral Ackbar jumps in with the rest of the Rebel fleet to engage the Vigilance and sends the rest of Echo Squadron to assist our wave. And not a moment too soon, as an Imperial Raider-class corvette moves to intercept the convoy. So there’s only one thing to do: fly in and take it out. I found that (on lower levels at least) it’s a simple enough matter to throttle down and rake the corvette with blaster fire and a concussion missile as we strafe over it, before positioning ourselves behind the raider and sending a continuous barrage of blaster fire and missiles. With Javes and your squadron also attacking, the raider’s shields are soon down and the ship doesn’t last much longer.
The convoy is preparing to jump away, but Javes warns that despite being engaged by the fleet, the Vigilance will still be watching all vectors so able to find the convoy. Having been impressed with our flying, Javes suggests a bold but dangerous strategy: the 2 of us making attacking runs on the Vigilance and destroying the ship’s targeting system. A dangerous move and I imagine it may take a couple of attempts at higher difficulties, but I made a couple of runs, putting the shield balance to my front as i moved in on the Vigilance and rear once I passed until I turned for my next attack run, focusing power on my weapons during the attack run and engines as soon as I was past, to get myself out of turbolaser range ASAP… and the targeting system was soon a smoking ruin.
With that daring manoeuvre over, we rejoin formation with Echo Squadron and jump away with both the convoy and the Rebel fleet, while Javes thanks Echo Squadron—especially us—for our assistance.
Thanks for reading. Red Five, standing by.